Philosopher king President Ronald Reagan once said, “Democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.” And what’s the cornerstone of our representative democracy? Voting. Through it, the authority of the people is entrusted to elected officials who run government at the federal, state and local levels. Simply put, voting is how we all participate in our government.
And you know what? Republicans think voting is pretty damn awesome. After all, isn’t getting the public to vote (a certain way) the primary purpose of the Republican Party, or any political party, for that matter? They love voting because, to different degrees over time, the results of voting allow then to do all sorts of great things with government, such as blowing things up, putting people in prisons and securing our borders.
The following are several examples of Republicans’ love of voting:
- Republicans throw huge parties — also known as conventions — to talk about voting and encourage people to vote, often by lionizing Ronald Reagan, promoting “family values” and repeatedly chanting “U-S-A.”
- Republican Party committees (not including candidates) spent $792 million in 2008 and $590 million in 2010 to help register people to vote and to educate voters on the issues and candidates. You don’t spend that kind of money on something you only “like” or even “like like.”1
- Roughly two in five voters identify themselves as Republicans, and if 131 million people voted in the 2008 Presidential Election, that means approximately 52.4 million Republicans voted in that election. That’s a lot of Republicans walking around with “I Voted” stickers.
- As is conveniently noted on the Republican National Committee’s list of accomplishments, millions of Americans wouldn’t have the right to vote without the efforts of, you guessed it, Republicans. For example, in 1869 “Republicans passed the 15th Amendment…extending to African-Americans the right to vote” and in 1878 “a Republican wrote the 19th Amendment…according women the right to vote.”2
- Republicans are much more excited to vote in next year’s presidential election than Democrats. While only 45% of Democrats are “enthusiastic” about voting next year, nearly three in five (58%) Republicans are “enthusiastic.” And no wonder, Newt Gingrich has said that next year’s election is the most important election since 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was elected President.3
- Republicans see voting as sacred and are passing all sorts of tough laws — such as requiring photo IDs — to maintain the integrity of the system. Voter fraud is so pervasive that from 2002 to 2008 over 100 people were convicted of committing federal voter fraud.4 If all 100 of those people had voted in the 2008 election, 0.00008% of the votes would have been fraudulent. Yikes!
Voting is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. For example, I have a cousin who after voting for Richard Nixon declared himself unfit to vote ever again. (And to the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t voted since). Though I have yet to hear of any Republicans similarly disciplining themselves after voting for George W. Bush, Republicans clearly hold voting in high regard. And every couple of years — if not more frequently — they get to exercise their right to vote and send a little love note to government, even though it may be of the “I love you, but want to change you” variety.
- To be fair, Democratic Party committees did spend more. ↩
- Republicans have a long history of helping women and people of color. ↩
- Of course, this is the same guy who thinks Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) should be jailed for authoring the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. ↩
- Most of them people who accidentally filled out two registration forms or recent immigrants and paroles who mistakenly believed they were permitted to vote. Scandalous. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/washington/12fraud.html. ↩